Slalom

Slalom

Slalom is a technical competitive form of kayaking, and the only whitewater event to appear in the Olympic Games. Racers attempt to make their way from the top to the bottom of a designated section of river as fast as possible, while correctly negotiating gates (a series of double-poles suspended vertically over the river). There are usually 18-25 gates in a race which must be navigated in sequential order. Green gates must be negotiated in a downstream direction, red gates in an upstream direction. The events are typically conducted on Grade/Class II to Grade/Class IV water, but the placement of the gates, and precision necessary to paddle them fast and "clean" (without touching a pole and adding 2 seconds to the total time), makes the moves much harder than the water's difficulty suggests. (Slalom has been described as performing class V moves with class III consequences.).  Pro level slalom competitions have specific length (350 cm (140 in) for kayaks - new rules), width, and weight requirements for the boats, which will be made out of kevlar/fiberglass/carbon fiber composites to be lightweight and have faster hull speed. Plastic whitewater kayaks can be used in lower division races.

Slalom

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